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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 15/09/2003
Scoping Report - A3 Hindhead Improvement



Summary & Purpose
The A3 Hindhead Improvement is reaching a very important stage, with publication of the draft Orders and Environmental Statement due in October 2003. The Council will need to formulate a response to the draft Orders, and it is necessary to decide the most effective way in which to handle this work.

The purpose of this report is to propose a review of the A3 Hindhead Improvement by this committee along the lines of a shortened parliamentary select committee investigation.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A


APPENDIX D
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE –
15TH SEPTEMBER 2003

_________________________________________________________________________

Title:
SCOPING REPORT – A3 HINDHEAD IMPROVEMENT
[Wards Affected: Hindhead and all wards along or adjoining the route of the A3]
_________________________________________________________________________

Summary and purpose:

The A3 Hindhead Improvement is reaching a very important stage, with publication of the draft Orders and Environmental Statement due in October 2003. The Council will need to formulate a response to the draft Orders, and it is necessary to decide the most effective way in which to handle this work.

The purpose of this report is to propose a review of the A3 Hindhead Improvement by this committee along the lines of a shortened parliamentary select committee investigation.

_________________________________________________________________________

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

In itself this report has no quality of life implications. The proposed review process will establish the positive and/or negative impacts of the A3 Hindhead scheme.

E-Government implications:

The main interest groups involved in the scheme will be invited to submit written comments to the Council in advance of the committee meetings, which may be sent by email. It is also proposed to provide information on the review on the Council’s website.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report other than the officer and member time involved in carrying out the review. Any resource or legal implications arising from the Council’s stance towards the A3 Hindhead Improvement will be established as part of the review process.

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Background

1. The need for improvements to tackle traffic congestion at Hindhead crossroads has been recognised for many years, but finding an acceptable solution to the problem has been difficult and understandably controversial. In March 2001, Ministers ended years of delay and uncertainty by giving the go-ahead for the A3 Hindhead scheme.

2. The plans involve providing a 6.5 km (4 miles) long dual carriageway between Hammer Lane on the Surrey/Hampshire boundary and Boundless Lane, near Thursley. Twin bored tunnels some 1.9 km (1.2 miles) in length will take the A3 under the Devil's Punch Bowl. The total scheme cost is in the region of 150 million.

Scope of the Review

3. The A3 Hindhead Improvement is reaching a very important stage, with a lot of activity due to take place over the next few months. There has been much public debate surrounding various aspects of the scheme, in particular the proposal to close the existing A3 around the Devil’s Punch Bowl to vehicular traffic once the new road and tunnels are open to traffic. In view of the level of public interest in this major project, it is considered that it would be appropriate for this Committee to conduct a review in public along the lines of a parliamentary select committee investigation.

4. However, there would be a degree of urgency in completing the review because of the need for the
Council to comply with a timetable for public consultation set by the Highways Agency. There would
be two distinct elements to the review, as explained below:

Draft Orders and Environmental Statement

5. Design work is currently being finalised ready for the publication of the draft Orders in mid to late October 2003. The draft Orders will specify the details of the new road and tunnels, together with related changes to existing roads and the rights of way network. The draft Orders will be accompanied by a comprehensive Environmental Statement.

6. Publication of the draft Orders and the Environmental Statement is a formal legal procedure, which will enable people affected by the scheme to lodge objections or to support the proposals. Objections will be heard at a Public Inquiry, currently expected to take place in June 2004.

7. Waverley will need to make a response to the draft Orders by the close of the consultation period, which is likely to be around the end of this year. In the run-up to publication of the draft Orders, various interest groups are starting to request the opportunity to talk to Members in the hope of being able to influence the Council’s views on the scheme. It would be desirable to enable this to happen.

Statement of Principles

8. The road improvement itself should be seen as a means to an end. It is important to look ahead and to recognise that the tunnel will inevitably bring changes to the character of Hindhead and the surrounding countryside. Officers have therefore been working with organisations such as the National Trust, English Nature, the Highways Agency, Surrey County Council and East Hampshire District Council to develop a set of key principles that will set the vision and tone for determining the future of the area.

9. Waverley will need to consider the Statement of Principles at the same time as formulating a response to the draft Orders. It is hoped that all the organisations involved in drawing up the draft principles will be able to formally endorse them so that the ‘main players’ can demonstrate a shared vision to the Inquiry Inspector.

The Review Process

10. Having regard to the timetable for responding to the draft Orders and Environmental Statement,
together with the availability of dates in the committee cycle, the process proposed for the review is
as follows:

September 2003
Early October 2003

(ii) Site visit to familiarise Members with the nature of the landscape and the road network in the
area. All Council Members to be invited.
Late October 2003
November 2003
December 2003

(viii) 2nd December – Executive to consider the Committee’s recommendations.

(ix) 16th December – Council meeting.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

1. the Committee agree to undertake an in-depth review into the A3 Hindhead Improvement,
focussed on responding to the Draft Orders and Environmental Statement and endorsing the
Statement of Principles; and 2. that the review be conducted in accordance with the process and outline timetable set out
above.

________________________________________________________________________

Background Papers (DoPD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972)
relating to this report.

________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Adrian Roche Telephone: 01483 523472

E-mail: aroche@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/OandS3/03-04/028